In general, most people do a pretty good job of keeping the kitchen clean. They clean and sanitize counter tops and clean the insides of the refrigerator, oven and microwave when needed. But when was the last time you cleaned these areas?
- Exhaust fan/vent hood. This area, directly over the stovetop, can collect all kinds of dirt and grease. The hood surface should be cleaned with hot soapy water at least once a week to remove any cooking oils and dust accumulation. The filters should be removed and washed with hot soapy water in the sink or in the dishwasher (if possible).
- Garbage disposal. Yes, we run hot water down the disposal all the time and it probably gets some soap suds too – but that’s not enough. Start by running the disposal for a moment to make sure there’s no food left in it. Then, with the disposal and water both turned off, pour ½ cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar into the disposal. Allow it to foam for a minute or two. Turn the disposal on and run hot water through it for another minute. The slight abrasiveness of the baking soda will help scrub away built up food residue. Finish by grinding up some citrus peels to leave behind a fresh scent.
- Under appliances. Dust, hair and other random bits (and cat toys at my house) all and up under the refrigerator and stove. Use a vacuum cleaner attachment or a yardstick to clear out this area. If possible, pull the appliance away from the wall and clean behind. Do the same with your microwave and other small appliances also.
- The garbage can. Even though we line it with a bag that is supposed to contain the garbage, the bag doesn’t always stay in place. If you have a garbage bag slip or leak, clean the garbage can with hot soapy water (inside and outside) and allow it to air dry before putting in another garbage bag. Cleaning outside garbage cans regularly is also a good idea.
- Utensil crocks and flatware trays. It is amazing how much dust and crumbs can accumulate at the bottom of these items – considering that only clean utensils are ever put in them. Before putting away your flatware and cooking utensils next time, empty out your trays or crocks and clean inside them first.
For more information on keeping your kitchen clean, check out these resources: